YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airmen from across the 374th Maintenance Group teamed up to host Cadets whom recently graduated from the National Defense Academy of Japan for the Basic Maintenance Officer (BMO) Tour at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 1, 2018.
The BMO Tour was designed to familiarize the future Koku Jietai maintenance officers to the practices of the U.S. Air Force, offering the Cadets a hands-on learning opportunity in a different operational perspective.
“The tour was a follow up to a ten-hour class that I teach on the subject,” said Capt. James Guthrie, maintenance exchange officer assigned to the Japanese Air Self Defense Force’s First Technical School at Hamamatsu Air Base. “Course material covered ranged from the basic structure of the U.S. Department of Defense to the specific structure of a U.S. Air Force maintenance group.
“The course also went into more detail on supply processes, the role of the maintenance operations center, and scheduling. All of which were further touched on throughout the tour.”
During their time at Yokota, the Cadets were given the opportunity to view firsthand the inner workings of a C-130J Super Hercules, learning from the Fabrications Flight, view the comradery of the 374 MXG throughout their promotion ceremony, and spent valuable time asking senior leadership questions about force structure.
“The events in the East Asia region over the past 6 years have demonstrated the importance of a strong relationship between the U.S. military and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces,” said Guthrie. “Tours like this strengthen that relationship not only by increasing tactical and operational awareness of how partner nations carry out their day-to-day mission but also creating opportunity for deeper understanding.
“By allowing these young and future leaders to ask questions directly to the tactical experts within our organization we create that understanding, This understanding pays dividends down the road when these officers find themselves in a joint operating environment like Cope North or Red Flag and they are able to understand why their Air Force counterparts are approaching the mission the way they are.”
For the 374 MXG’s officers who participated in the tour, the event offered up a chance to bolster their own relationships with their Japanese counterparts.
“I think it is always easier to get a job done or work with others when you personally know them and have that relationship,” said 2nd Lt. Jake Jackson, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant aircraft maintenance unit officer in charge. “This tour is just the beginning of the relationship we aim to foster with the current and future Koku Jietai maintenance officers.
“I hope down the road I am able to see some of these individuals in the field and we can work together,” said Jackson. “It would be really neat to see how far they’ve come and what we can accomplish together with what we started here.”